For the first time this season UMBC trailed in a game. Mount St. Mary’s forward Chris Wheeler softly headed a ball off a free kick by Eric Detzel past Phil Saunders to go up on UMBC 1-0 15 minutes into the game. While that score lasted for nearly 30 minutes, the offense for UMBC finally got going. UMBC tied the game with just 32 ticks left before half time when Andrew Bulls struck again. Bulls was in the right place at the right time to tie the game. sophomore defender Jason McCarron made a long pass up the field and freshman forward Matt Knight headed the ball towards the goal from two yards out but the ball hit the post. Luckily for UMBC, it bounced back in front of the goal, where Bulls slide to the ball for his eight goal of the season. Right now Bulls very well may be the hottest player in the nation. He has scored at least one goal in each of UMBC’s first five games and his eight goals is enough to already match his total from last season.
Andrew Bulls has scored eight goals on the season with at least one in each of UMBC’s first five games
As great as Bulls has been this season, the most improtant player on the team may be the second half of the dealiest duo in college soccer: Levi Houapeu. Houapeu’s speed and ball handling ability has opened up the offense this year. Last year when he was battling injuries the team seemed to be missing something, but this year he is completely healthy and has been a force for the Retrievers. With the game as a tie for the next 32 minutes, Houapeu finally got UMBC the lead. He was awarded a penalty kick in the 77th minute and converted it, hitting the ball straight down the middle as the goalie dove to the left. Houapeu now has five goals on the season, and after his three assists performance against St. Francis, six assists to go with it.
Levi Houapeu recorded five points this week with a goal against Mount St. Mary’s and three assists against St. Francis (PA)
Defensively the team played well. Phil Saunders recorded four saves while allowing one goal, but the team allowed just five shots on goal and only eight total shots. Chris Williams and Vince Savarese both played well enough against Mount St. Mary’s and St. Francis (PA) to be named to the All-Adidas Kick Off Classic tournament team. They were joined by fellow Retrievers Houapeu and Bulls, who was named the tournament MVP.
With a 5-0 record while outscoring their opponents 19-4, UMBC is more than likely going to move into the national top 30, at least receive votes for it, while Bulls will likely be looked at for a second straight National Player of the Week award. UMBC’s next game will be against bitter local rival Towson at 4:00 at UMBC.